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PeeJayTee

The Evernote Editor

Idea

Hey everyone,

 

This is P.J. from the Product Team at Evernote.

 

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a project that we've been working on for quite a while. As some of you may have noticed, the note editor changed in the Windows 5.9 release. Though it introduced a relatively small number of new features, it represents a larger body of work that will significantly improve note editing in Evernote.

 

Years of writing the editors of our clients independently of one another has taken a toll on the the consistency and quality of Evernote’s editing experience. We recognize this and we’re fully committed to making it better. We’ve created a dedicated team focused on improving the note editor and we’re hoping you notice the difference. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll start to see the fruits of this labor appear in all of the things you do to create notes in Evernote—typing, bullets and lists, tables, images, copy and pasting are just a few of the things we’ll be working on to start. Bigger improvements will follow. For more on the thinking behind this project, check out this blog post.

 

We can’t promise to get everything right the first time, but we can promise to listen to your feedback and work tirelessly to make every version of Evernote’s editor better than the last. If you have feedback on the editor, we’re here to listen. Feel free to comment on this thread or DM me.

 

Thanks!

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On 9/22/2015 at 4:53 PM, PeeJayTee said:

 

... we hear you and we do care... this is precisely why we're making it a priority to be more responsive.  Beyond that, we will just have to earn your trust by following through.  

 

Can an Evernote employee please give us an update on this project? This thread was all about a common editor which was started in, I think, 2013, and announced publicly in 2015. Instead of having 5 different editors for 5 different platforms, this common editor would fix a lot of bugs, make for a common experience across platforms, allow basic markdown to become a reality, make it easier to roll out new features and smooth out the kinks, etc.

Now it's 2019 and there is an announcement of - wait for it - a common editor. This will replace the 5 different editors for 5 different platforms, fix a lot of bugs, make for a common experience...

What's going on? Is the 2019 announcement a new, second common editor? Or is it just a bunch of changes to the common editor announced in this thread? What happened to the original 2015 promise of a common editor? Can an Evernote employee comment on the company's follow through?

 

 

 

On a related note:

 

On 5/23/2016 at 12:25 PM, WeCanLearnAnything said:

... I may be an extreme case, but here is

 

The Evernote Announcement I'd Love to Hear

 

Dear Evernote Users,

For the rest of 2016 and 2017, we will be introducing no new front-end features at all. There will be no new buttons, no new menus, no new interfaces, no new colors, nothing new at all. We will be launching no new products, no new services, no new marketing campaigns, no new branding, no new pricing, nothing of the sort. We are putting all new front-end ideas and feature requests on hold.

Instead, from now until 2018, ALL developers will spend ALL of their time:

  1. Deleting underutilized features and
  2. Making the remaining features just work. Think bulletproof. Think zero glitches. Think flawless back-end, too.

                   ...

           We're going to make Evernote just work.

Chris O'Neill [as imagined by an Evernote user]

CEO, Evernote

 

 

2.5 years after posting my dream/exaggerated announcement [directly above], a CEO of Evernote made my dream announcement come true.

Unfortunately, it sounds similar to Chris O'Neil's promises and Phil Libin's promises.

I'm really hoping that the third promise is the charm, that the CEO really means it this time, and that he will force the company to follow through and make the core product just work.

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5 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

This thread was all about a common editor...Instead of having 5 different editors for 5 different platforms...

My iPad Evernote client is using    Editor Version: ce-74.1.9398
I think this is the latest version of the common editor

My Mac Evernote client is using    Editor: 69.1.8237 

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23 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

Is the 2019 announcement a new, second common editor?

Actually, I think it's the 3rd one. Maybe 4th, in the last 6 years...

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1 hour ago, PinkElephant said:

Where can I see the editor version ?

On a Mac it's Evernote > About
89026099_ScreenShot2019-08-30at08_31_33.png.efd73039bb7f5d011307714e1ee529e1.png

1830625100_ScreenShot2019-08-30at08_32_49.png.337b4e8653e3f51d672d8e6b5d20d932.png

 

>>And on iPad ? Did not find it, maybe somewhere in the activity log ?

Right - in the activity log9D7B5DD5-9FC4-41C3-8B66-04F0BF1D8410.jpeg.a92e30549e3257b0d7f4e5fda1f64dae.jpeg

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3 hours ago, dcon said:

Actually, I think it's the 3rd one. Maybe 4th, in the last 6 years...

I can't tell if you're serious or sarcastic.

If serious, why the heck is Evernote building 4 different common editors and how, exactly, are 8+ year-old bugs surviving all of those versions?

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1 hour ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

I can't tell if you're serious or sarcastic.

Serious, at least in part. There was CEF 1, CEF 3 (the current one, I think, at least in Windows), and now the new one, whatever that is.

1 hour ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

If serious, why the heck is Evernote building 4 different common editors and how, exactly, are 8+ year-old bugs surviving all of those versions?

Evernote isn't building the common part, at least the core; those are frameworks for building specialized applications  (info on CEF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_Embedded_Framework). Not my ball of wax, but there's almost certainly common code that Evernote has to write to implement common editing behaviors in the common core, and then there are disparate code bases for each of the platforms (Windows, Mac, web, Android, iOS) for UI/UX, because those are native applications that embed the common editor part (again, Evernote has to build those containing applications). 

@dcon knows more about this, and much more intimately... maybe they'll even show you the scars...

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Maybe because there is Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, so I count 4x OS.

And if you do want to have a highly performing app, you probably have to integrate it pretty well with the OS. This makes 4 different engines.

You just have to compare the 2 desktop versions, for Windows and Mac. They even use a different approach to organize and save the local data. Unifying this means building a lot of stuff from scratch. The same for the mobile clients.

So let us wait and see what will emerge.

P.S. And I do not know about bugs 8 years old. Can you specify ?

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20 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

I can't tell if you're serious or sarcastic.

If serious, why the heck is Evernote building 4 different common editors and how, exactly, are 8+ year-old bugs surviving all of those versions?

Serious. Something I've learned about Javascript programmers (in general) - they'd rather completely rewrite something in a new framework than fix the existing stuff. The average lifespan of a project seemed to be around 2 yrs. Then the people would move on, new ones would be hired, rinse/repeat. At least that was the impression our team got from the outside...

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19 hours ago, jefito said:

There was CEF 1, CEF 3

That's the browser framework the editor is built in. CEF1 was used when I started. The first common editor targeted CEF3 but was backported to CEF1. The CEF3 upgrade was pushed by several things - lack of support for CEF1, and effort for the editor team to support it. Upgrades to CEF were completely orthogonal to CE updates.

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19 hours ago, jefito said:

(again, Evernote has to build those containing applications). 

Hehe. We wrote the app that contained the containing app! Google wrote CEF. (ok, we modified that too) The only reason I maintained my sanity is because I stayed as far away from the CEF tweaks as I possibly could. (Just building that thing was a nightmare - let alone actually looking at that code!)

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19 hours ago, PinkElephant said:

They even use a different approach to organize and save the local data. Unifying this means building a lot of stuff from scratch.

We were (pretty sure I'm allowed to say this...) actually looking to consolidate that in a common C++ core library. That work was put on permanent hold (at least it was when I left) in favor of the new version the CEO has been referring to.

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On 8/30/2019 at 11:51 AM, PinkElephant said:

...

P.S. And I do not know about bugs 8 years old. Can you specify ?

I wrongly used the word "bug".

What I should have said is "basic functions" have been glitching badly or outright failing for 8+ years. For example, on a Windows device, cursors still leap around weirdly in lists, such as when you press CTRL + RIGHT ARROW while at the very end of a list. Copy/Paste still misses ultra basic things like line breaks and spaces or inserts them unexpectedly or does other weird formatting things. There are tons of posts about this in the forums. Cursors still disappear below the note if you're using tables, horizontal rules, or lists. If I use my touch screen to put the cursor in the note, there will be two blinking cursors, one of which is fake. Evernote tends to crash completely after this. Evernote is an 11-year-old note-taking app and cursors and copy/paste are still unreliable!

Just as important: Evernote's motto is (was?) "Remember everything", yet it has had all kinds of sync and data loss problems for years!

This is nuts! Especially when they've poured resources into logo redesigns and business socks.

I was relieved to hear that the CEO announced fixes rather than new features would be the priority for 2019... But it sounds a lot like previous Evernote CEOs' promises to get the core product working. According to @dcon, there's too much turnover and "shiny new object" syndrome to persevere with such promises.

I expect that, over the next few years, there will be more useless visual redesigns, a bunch of endeavors only tangentially related to note-taking, and then a 4th CEO promise to get the core product working.

Evernote: Please prove me wrong!

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4 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

What I should have said is "basic functions" have been glitching badly or outright failing for 8+ years. For example, on a Windows device, cursors still leap around weirdly in lists, such as when you press CTRL + RIGHT ARROW while at the very end of a list. Copy/Paste still misses ultra basic things like line breaks and spaces or inserts them unexpectedly or does other weird formatting things. There are tons of posts about this in the forums. Cursors still disappear below the note if you're using tables, horizontal rules, or lists. If I use my touch screen to put the cursor in the note, there will be two blinking cursors, one of which is fake. Evernote tends to crash completely after this. Evernote is an 11-year-old note-taking app and cursors and copy/paste are still unreliable!

Wow - I use a Windows device and I haven't seen any of this!  How lucky are you!!

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Yes, some guys get all of the fun ...

Currently on travel just with iPad and MacBook, so it will be a week and some until I can give it a try . Can’t wait to do so !

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On 8/31/2019 at 10:03 AM, dcon said:

That's the browser framework the editor is built in. CEF1 was used when I started. The first common editor targeted CEF3 but was backported to CEF1. The CEF3 upgrade was pushed by several things - lack of support for CEF1, and effort for the editor team to support it. Upgrades to CEF were completely orthogonal to CE updates.

As usual, I appreciate your clarifications. So the editor is really the JavaScript program used to manipulate the HTML (that's analogous to the Evernote ENML) inside the editor, which the framework then displays. And 'CE' here refers to the Evernote Common Editor? Sounds like getting a new CEF update spread joy across your dev staff...

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On 9/1/2019 at 2:49 PM, gazumped said:

Wow - I use a Windows device and I haven't seen any of this!  How lucky are you!!

I have made pictures/videos/posts/twitter messages/etc. about all of those bugs. None of them have gotten fixed. Evernote customer service has even - and I'm not kidding you - lost the videos I've sent them in the past. I've deleted most of the videos since then.

Overall, Evernote employees just say things like "Maybe we'll fix them one day... that whole touch-the-screen-then-Evernote-crashes-bug, well, that's on our backlog. We have other priorities..."

Should I make a bunch of short video clips and post them in these forums to demo the bugs?

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40 minutes ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

Should I make a bunch of short video clips and post them in these forums to demo the bugs?

What is your objective in these posts in the Common Editor discussion

You're obviously not satisfied with the product, or with Evernotes progress in resolving issues.
There are forums to post bugs and technical issues

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6 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

Should I make a bunch of short video clips and post them in these forums to demo the bugs?

If you've reported them to Evernote,  raising them here is (AFAICS) not going to do any additional good.  My original point was that on my old(ish) spinning disk limited-memory laptop I do have some issues with Evernote,  but none of the ones you mention;  others here have the same experience.  So your particular circumstances may be limited to some situations and not the general experience.  Evernote would take that into account when prioritising fixes. 

Plus (and this is rather a big PLUS) they're already - according to that nice Ian Small - rewriting the important bits of the software which will (possibly) leave behind everyone's current problems (and give us a whole new set 😏).  So it would be a waste of resources to 'fix' the old code and divert effort from the new stuff.  Just sayin'

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11 hours ago, jefito said:

getting a new CEF update spread joy across your dev staff...

For certain definitions of "joy"! LOL!

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10 hours ago, DTLow said:

What is your objective in these posts in the Common Editor discussion

You're obviously not satisfied with the product, or with Evernotes progress in resolving issues.
There are forums to post bugs and technical issues

I do not believe Evernote employees are actually very aware of the bugs, so I hope to raise that awareness.

In emails with Evernote support, various employees have stepped in at different times, often weeks apart, and then I've had to retell the whole story of bugs, resend videos, etc. Perhaps these forum threads are a more permanent record that they won't lose?

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4 hours ago, gazumped said:

If you've reported them to Evernote,  raising them here is (AFAICS) not going to do any additional good.  My original point was that on my old(ish) spinning disk limited-memory laptop I do have some issues with Evernote,  but none of the ones you mention;  others here have the same experience.  So your particular circumstances may be limited to some situations and not the general experience.  Evernote would take that into account when prioritising fixes. 

Plus (and this is rather a big PLUS) they're already - according to that nice Ian Small - rewriting the important bits of the software which will (possibly) leave behind everyone's current problems (and give us a whole new set 😏).  So it would be a waste of resources to 'fix' the old code and divert effort from the new stuff.  Just sayin'

I use a SSD on both of my Windows devices, so this has nothing to do with spinning disks.

The copy/paste problems are widely reported in these forums going back to, I believe, the very launch of these forums. I think that means the copy/paste problems are widespread enough to be prioritized...

12 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Please use the proper forums for this  https://discussion.evernote.com/forum/463-general-technical-issues/.  Also, don't just tack on existing discussions; start new topics

As for "rewriting important bits of software" and "use [of] the proper forums", the other reason I'm posting is because the recent announcement of creating a common editor to fix a lot of bugs made me wonder what the heck happened to the prior announcement of creating a common editor to fix a lot of bugs. So I'm already in the right forum and specific thread to ask those questions.

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24 minutes ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

this has nothing to do with spinning disks.

Didn't say it did.  My point was that being an old and clunky system (to go with its old and clunky user) I would have expected any problems to swing by my door too.  They did not.

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On 8/30/2019 at 6:58 AM, dcon said:

Actually, I think it's the 3rd one. Maybe 4th, in the last 6 years...

 

On 8/31/2019 at 7:00 AM, dcon said:

Serious. Something I've learned about Javascript programmers (in general) - they'd rather completely rewrite something in a new framework than fix the existing stuff. The average lifespan of a project seemed to be around 2 yrs. Then the people would move on, new ones would be hired, rinse/repeat. At least that was the impression our team got from the outside...

@dcon  To be honest, I don't think I quite understand some of the jargon around CE, CEF, frameworks, etc.

Are you saying that Evernote started a common editor from scratch as announced in this thread, then abandoned that, then started a whole new common editor project, abandoned that, then repeated this cycle a third time, and now @Ian Small is announcing a fourth cycle? If so, what happened to all of those abandoned versions?

 

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4 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

@dcon  To be honest, I don't think I quite understand some of the jargon around CE, CEF, frameworks, etc.

Before @dcon comes back and corrects my explanation, the basic thing is this: the two versions of CEF (Chromium Embedded Framework, versions 1and 3) essentially comprise a web browser that you embed in your application,. Evernote uses (or used) it to render your note content (and not, I think, all of the various UI.around your note: toolbars, buttons, tag display, etc.), and implement editing facilities so that you can modify your note. 

So problem #1 is how to hook it into your application, which in Evernote's case is actually several applications, one for each platform/code base they support: you need to link it in to your application so that you can use its interfaces. Those interfaces tell it things like where it should be displayed on the screen, what HTML to feed it, what JavaScript to use (like any web browser, it renders HTML and can run JavaScript). Also note: since Evernote notes are coded into ENML (which is close to HTML, but contains elements that are specific to Everntoe), you need a way to translate perfectly back and forth from ENML and HTML. You get the note content (ENML) from the server/database, translate it the HTML and shove it down to the embedded browser. Make edits (more on that below) and when it's time to sync/save, your haul the HTML out of the browser and translate it back to ENML. So there's a fair bit of coding just to hook in the browser framework (different on each platform), and do HTML/ENML translations (probably different in each application if they use different languages; not sure about details there).

Problem #2 is coding the interactions between the browser framework and your note. That is, when you click on a button in the UI, it does something to your note (turns it bold, changes color/font, inserts a horizontal line, indents, adds bullet listing, inserts some text, etc., etc.) That's a list of possible interactions in your note that's handled, as best I can tell, by Javascript, and that bit comprises the Common Editor (CE). Theoretically, that should be portable to Evernote's other platforms in toto. But it still needs to be written, debugged, and tested and there are lots and lots of possible scenarios.

So, grossly simplified (because I don't know details here) overview: The application embeds the browser framework (e.g., CEF3) and communicates with it, the CEFs runs on a web page (HTML) that represents your note, and transformation o(edits) on your note are performed by the JavaScript code.

At least some of the problems faced over time are described here: 

 

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16 hours ago, jefito said:

corrects my explanation

Nope, pretty much nailed it! (I'm only talking about the Windows platform - I don't know how the other platforms embedded the editor)

 

21 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

If so, what happened to all of those abandoned versions?

They weren't abandoned. They went into the product. Sometimes the updates were very noticeable to users because of the differences. Sometimes they weren't (good regression tests in those cases!).

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On 9/4/2019 at 6:46 AM, dcon said:

They weren't abandoned. They went into the product. Sometimes the updates were very noticeable to users because of the differences. Sometimes they weren't (good regression tests in those cases!).

If the prior common editors were not abandoned back then, are they being abandoned now for this common editor?

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22 hours ago, WeCanLearnAnything said:

If the prior common editors were not abandoned back then, are they being abandoned now for this common editor?

Each previous incarnation is replaced by the next. As far as I can remember, if you've been using EN for a number of years, you're seen every "new editor" that was released.

As I understood it, the new "new editor" is part of the new program that's in the private beta. (Which some people here have tried - I'm haven't.) Whether it will be retrofitted into the Windows product? 🤷‍♂️All I can do is speculate like the rest of you now! (My speculation is no.)

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The editor in the Windows Preview looks exactly like the editor in the web beta.  Best I can tell anyway. 

Somewhat early days I suppose, but personally I'd like to see the note meta data brought back together at the top, some of the air removed, and the elimination of some of the new drop downs to get at things that were once visible.  A less productive experience, for me anyway.

Browser.thumb.jpg.2de3e0990360c546b35f15751133944f.jpg1090924587_WindowsPreview.thumb.png.2b6ab63776e6573b9b98450ee91ec57d.png

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45 minutes ago, CalS said:

The editor in the Windows Preview looks exactly like the editor in the web beta.  Best I can tell anyway. 

Sure looks like they have the same blurry text, that's for sure... ;) 

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The reduction in pixel count will speed up sync tremendously-I will be able to go back to my (t)rusted phone line modem when this launches 😜

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On 9/6/2019 at 10:48 AM, jefito said:

Sure looks like they have the same blurry text, that's for sure... ;) 

Yeah, in all the same places.  Including the pixelated.

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